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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources


Living in Light of Two Ages



Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and the Antichrist










The two most powerful men on earth will always be the subject of prophetic speculation--especially questions about their relationship to the end-times Antichrist.  Such speculation comes with the territory, given their respective roles as the two of the key power-brokers in world affairs.

In a recent radio interview, former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, expresses the opinion that Barack Obama's foreign policy is hastening the end-times (Obama Is Hastening the Rapture).  Echoing the standard dispensational categories of prophetic punditry, Bachmann laments,

“We need to realize how close this clock is getting to the midnight hour . . . . We in our lifetimes potentially could see Jesus Christ returning to earth and the rapture of the church”

This dire prediction is based upon her perception of Obama's weakness in his dealings with Iran.  Says Bachmann,

“We are literally watching, month by month, the speed move up to a level we’ve never seen before with these events . . . . Barack Obama is intent.  It is his number one goal to ensure that Iran has a nuclear weapon . . . . If you look at the president’s rhetoric, and if you look at his actions, everything he has done has been to cut the legs out of Israel and lift up the agenda of radical Islam . . . . Any nation that accepts God and his principles is blessed, and those who push away are cursed. That’s what we’re seeing happen to the United States. . . . We will suffer the consequences as a result.”

Alluding to God's promise of favor toward Abraham, Bachmann believes that America's fate depends upon whether or not we support Israel.

Almost in passing Bachmann adds that because of abortion and gay marriage, God is punishing the United States for “embracing a pagan view.”  God may very well be punishing America for these things, and Obama's dealings with Iran on nukes may be potentially dangerous.  But apart from special revelation, we do not know such things with the biblical certainty Bachmann assumes.  There is the uncomfortable fact that God may punish America for embracing a heretical form of civil religion (like that of the politicians of the left and right who confuse American national interests with God's eternal purposes), or for our gluttony, sloth, self-righteousness, or a host of other sins which never are mentioned by politicians.

Then there's Vladimir Putin, the prophecy pundit's best friend.  The only problem the pundits have with President Putin is that he is not part of a revived holy Roman empire, so they turn to their faulty exegesis of Ezekiel 38-39 to explain how Putin might just be the supreme end-times foe.  I've responded to this misuse of Ezekiel 38-39 previously (Why the Dispensational Interpretation of Ezekiel 38-39 is Wrong).

According to a recent essay from Matthew Avery Sutton in the Washington Post, (Could Putin Be the Antichrist?) Putin's name is now bandied about in recent antichrist speculation,

With the fall of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, it looked to evangelicals that perhaps they had misread their Bibles. During the George W. Bush presidency, evangelicals began to invest more time and energy into working in this world rather than in preparing for the next.

And then came Putin. It appears that the former KGB agent may well be helping to lead a revival of apocalyptic thinking among some evangelicals. Best-selling evangelical author Joel Rosenberg, megachurch pastor John Hagee and television prophecy expert Jack Van Impe and many others have recently connected the Russian leader to Old Testament prophecy.

Sutton concludes,

Even if Putin does not actually do battle in the end times with the Antichrist, he serves as a reminder to millions of American evangelicals that the Bible is the best guide to the future. Although Jesus may not be coming today, he is coming soon. And as they keep a wary eye on peace promises coming out of Ukraine, that is all they need to know.

Goes to show, the evening news (or the google news feed) provides continual fodder for the prophecy pundits, even if Scripture doesn't support any of these claims or fanciful speculations. 

It is just a matter of time before the next political crisis produces new antichrist candidates and a spate of creative exegesis to support these bizarre claims about political figures and their supposed connection to the end-times.


Happy Birthday, My Dear!

A big milestone today for Mrs. Riddleblogger -- Micki or "MV" as she's affectionately known.  You are a great wife, a wonderful mother, and a true and faithful servant to our church family.  And I am truly blessed.  


"The Truth Will Set You Free" -- John 8:31-47

The Twenty-Ninth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

There is faith, and then there is faith.  Throughout the public ministry of Jesus there has always been a group of people to whom God has granted eternal life and who are said to “believe” in Jesus.  They are completely devoted to his messianic mission and continue to follow him through difficult times.  There is also a group of people (the Jews in John’s Gospel) who see Jesus as a threat, and who oppose just about everything Jesus says and does.  These people do not believe–and Jesus grants them no quarter whenever he encounters them.  And then there is a third group; those who are said to “believe in Jesus” and are even called “disciples,” but who eventually demonstrate that they do not truly believe in Jesus, and never really have.  These people are following Jesus out of desperation. They believe Jesus to be a miracle-worker who can help them in crisis.  Some of them see Jesus as the prophet foretold by Moses because no one else could do and say the things Jesus says.  Then there are others in this group who see in Jesus someone who can lead the nation into battle against their Roman oppressors.  These are people who want to make Jesus king (Messiah).  But people in this third group tend to fall away when Jesus utters hard sayings (as in the “Bread of Life” discourse), or when Jesus does something which does not meet their expectations (he claims to be God, he challenges their self-righteousness, or exposes their sin).
Therefore, not everyone whom John says believes in Jesus, really believes in Jesus.  Not everyone who follows Jesus is truly his disciple.  In fact, in John 2:23-25, John introduced us to such people when he wrote of them, “now when [Jesus] was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.”  There are people whom John says “believe” in Jesus, but who over time prove they do not.  They are mixed with those following Jesus who really do believe the gospel because God has given them eternal life.  What are we to make of this problem?  How do we tell who is who?  Who is the true believer?

We continue our series on the Gospel of John and we are in John 8, working our way through the so-called “conflict phase” of Jesus’ ministry (chapters 7-10)–that part of Jesus’ messianic mission which is characterized by increasing conflict between Jesus and the religious leadership of Israel, the Jews.  We have seen that this conflict takes place during the Feast of Booths when Jesus goes to Jerusalem and declares himself to be the one who will give the people of God living water (the Holy Spirit), before declaring himself to be the light of the world (the Messiah, whose message of salvation will shine to the ends of the earth).  John tells repeatedly us that Jesus’ hour has not yet come (which is why the Pharisees’ plot to kill Jesus has not come to fruition).  John also reveals that Jesus is now telling his disciples that he must leave them, and that where he is going, no one can come.  Those who know how John’s Gospel turns out in the end, know that Jesus is referring to his coming death, resurrection, and ascension (when he returns to the Father) before sending the Holy Spirit (Pentecost).

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here


This Week at Christ Reformed Church (April 20-26)

  Sunday Morning (April 26):  We continue with our series on the books of Ezra-Nehemiah, and we now come to chapter three (3:1-13).  We will be discussing the work of rebuilding the altar and the temple which now gets underway.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  Rev. Chris Coleman will be conducting our catechism service, which begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (April 22)We are continuing our "Run Through the Letters of Paul," and have come to Galatians 3:15-29, and Paul's take on redemptive history.  

The Academy:  Friday, April 24 @ 7:00 p.m.  

Our new Academy series is entitled "The Great and Holy War" and will be a lecture and discussion of the legacy of World War One, including the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine (Israel), the roots of ISIS (the end of the Caliphate/Ottoman Empire), the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Marxist-Leninism.

This week we will watch the video (note the time--7:00 p.m.): "To Arms" from the series The First World War, based upon Hew Strachan's book, narrated and produced by Jonathan Lewis, and then our lecture (@ 8:00 p.m.), is entitled: "The Causes of the War"  Who Started It, and Why?

Our text for this series is Philip Jenkin's book,  The Great and Holy War

For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website:  Christ Reformed Church


"Everyone Whose Spirit God Stirred Up"-- Ezra 1:5-2:70

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon, the second in a series on Ezra-Nehemiah

Click Here


This Week's White Horse Inn

Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament

This week on the White Horse Inn we begin a two-part series on how the Old Testament pointed to the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. We are joined once more by Nancy Guthrie, who has written a five-volume book series addressing this topic, entitled Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. Nancy has been a regular contributor to the White Horse Inn and is a teacher and author of several other books including Holding On to Hope: A Pathway through Suffering to the Heart of God, and Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God's Purpose and Provision in Suffering.

For most Christians today, the Old Testament remains a closed book. If it is read at all, it is understood and interpreted like Aesop’s Fables. Many Christians were raised to believe that the Old Testament was little more than a collection of morality tales written to inspire us to have “faith like Abraham” or the “courage of Daniel.” And yet, Jesus taught his followers that the Old Testament actually pointed to himself (Jn. 5:39). What does this mean as we individually and corporately study God’s Word? How should we look at each Old Testament passage? Join us as we discuss this important topic of seeing Jesus in all of Scripture on the White Horse Inn.

Click Here


Audio Posted -- "The Great War: Why Study a War Fought One Hundred Years Ago?"

Here is the audio from Friday's Academy Lecture:  The Great War: Lecture One

There are seven broad-ranging geopolitical implications which comprise the legacy of the Great War:

1).  The Great War marks the dawn of the modern world

2).  The Great War shook the very foundation of Europe and Western Civilization

3).  The Great War leads to a sequel (WW2)

4).  The Great War gives rise to the Arab-Israeli conflict

5).  The Great War sets the stage for the rise of ISIS and transnational terrorism

6). The Great War gave rise to the Soviet Union and international Communism

7). The Great War gave rise to America as the world’s foremost super-power 


Friday Feature -- The Hidden Ball Trick

You don't see this very often!  The Rays pull off the "hidden ball trick" against the Dodgers in August, 2013.  The Dodger third base coach and the baserunner (Juan Uribe) both fell asleep.  I love it when a little league trick play catches big leaguers.  The Dodger announcers are clueless as well--but the guys in the Dodger dugout notice, and they razz Uribe mercilessly when he leaves the field.


"Light of the World" -- John 8:12-30

The Twenty-Eighth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

Jesus stood up during the water pouring ritual on the “Great Day” of the Feast of Booths and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”  Throughout the entire time Jesus had been in Jerusalem during the week-long celebration of the Feast, people were debating his identity.  The Jews (those loyal to the Sanhedrin) felt that Jesus was a dangerous threat to the nation, and must be stopped.  Yet many of the people who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast, believed that if Jesus was not the Christ, then at the very least he was the great prophet foretold by Moses.  But no one could remain neutral about Jesus.  Jesus spoke with the authority of YHWH.  He had a mastery of Scripture which no one had ever seen.  And then there were the miracles.  Jesus healed people and cast out demons with a single command.  The religious leaders hated him because he exposed their self-righteousness.  They were already plotting his death, while many, John says, believed in him.  Who is this man?  How can he say the things that he does?  What is the nature of his ministry?  What is he seeking to accomplish?

As we continue our series on the Gospel of John, we resume where we left off last time (John 7:52), with whole city of Jerusalem, it seems, debating the identity of Jesus and trying to figure out the nature of his messianic mission.  From the time Jesus arrived mid-Feast, until his declaration during the final water ritual that he is the “living water,” Jesus was engaged in continual controversy with the religious leaders of Israel–who, as we have seen, were already looking for a way to arrest Jesus and then put him to death.  This is why chapters 7-10 of John’s Gospel are said to describe the “conflict phase” of Jesus’ messianic mission.  Jesus’ mission has brought him to Jerusalem, and although his hour has not yet come, Jesus is preparing his disciples for that time when he will go away to that place where they cannot come (his ascension).  And, he must fulfill all righteousness through his perfect obedience to the law of Moses.

Those who were in Jerusalem as pilgrims attending the feast, as well as the city’s inhabitants, were also greatly divided over the question of Jesus’ identity.  Some believed in Jesus.  Others were not sure who, exactly, he was.  Is he the Christ, the prophet, or some sort of zealot?  Those loyal to the Sanhedrin were so angered by Jesus’ messianic claims that they sought to seize him and turn him over to the Pharisees.  The controversy surrounding Jesus in John 7:40 ff., leads to a direct encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees (beginning in John 8:12)–an encounter which, very likely, took place shortly after Jesus stood up and claimed to be the living water during that portion of the ritual in which water was poured out on the ground as symbolic of God’s provision of life-giving water to Israel in the wilderness and believed by the Jews to foretell of the messianic age, when God will give pure water to the whole world from a great rock (like that in the wilderness).  Jesus’ claim to give living water during this moment in the Feast was clearly a messianic claim.  Jesus’ comments did not go unnoticed by the Pharisees, who were just waiting for Jesus to say or do the wrong thing.  

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here


This Week at Christ Reformed Church (April 13-19)

Sunday Morning (April 19):  We continue with our new series on the books of Ezra-Nehemiah.  We will discuss the theme of new Exodus as the exiles in Babylon return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:5-2:70).  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are continuing our series on the Canons of Dort.  We are covering the fifth head of doctrine and are now in the "refutation of errors."  This week, we are covering refutations 5 and 6 (and the charge that the Reformed doctrine of perseverance leads to ungodliness).  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (April 15)We are continuing our "Run Through the Letters of Paul" and we in are Galatians 3:10-14, and continuing our discussion that the righteous will live by faith.  

The Academy:  The Academy resumes this Friday, April 17@ 7:30 p.m.  

Our new Academy series is entitled "The Great and Holy War" and will be a lecture and discussion of the legacy of World War One, including the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine (Israel), the roots of ISIS (the end of the Caliphate/Ottoman Empire), the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Marxist-Leninism, along with a host of other contemporary geopolitical conundrums--all of which are part of the legacy of the Great War. 

Here's a link to Philip Jenkin's book A Great and Holy War" which will serve as our primary text for this series.  The Great and Holy War

For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website:  Christ Reformed Church